16th Sep 2011

Freeze-dried Wild Alaskan Salmon Treats – Made in China?!

Now here’s a little tidbit that just came across my ‘radar’: I can buy freeze-dried cat and dog treats, at wholesale prices, that are made from Alaskan salmon and other fish (‘whitefish’ and tuna) via a Seattle-based distributing hub.

Sounds like a great deal for any pet food company that doesn’t want to prepare the food from scratch, right? What’s so interesting about this? Well, these particular fish are prepared in China! Although the processor claims that they use Alaskan wild salmon, there’s no independent party that can verify this. Even with all the cutting of corners I’ve seen in the pet food industry over the past few years, I must admit that I was surprised by this. Earlier, I had assumed – wrongly, of course – that at the very least, all wild Alaskan salmon treats are processed in the US. Undoubtedly, many consumers – and even some retailers, including veterinarians!- make the very same assumption. And clearly, there isn’t a reliable source for this kind of information.

By the way, I was approached, in my capacity as a pet food manufacturer, to buy this China-processed salmon for resale. When I inquired further, I was stunned to find out that wild Alaskan salmon is processed for pet treats in China. Aren’t there enough companies in the US that are interested and able to do this, or is such home-grown processing simply not cost-effective? In any case, I would never consider reselling these products, despite their very attractive wholesale price. As I mentioned earlier, there’s no way of knowing whether we are really dealing with wild Alaskan salmon.

The foregoing highlights another potential source of misinformation: just because a pet food website or product package lists a US address, it doesn’t mean that the product originates from, or was manufactured in, the US. So, it’s important to keep in mind that several pet food companies simply repackage products which they purchase from other manufacturers. They then sell these products as their own, packaged in their brand’s box, bag, or tub. With the notable exception of USDA certified organic pet foods, manufacturers aren’t required to declare the actual source of the products they sell. So, be aware: your favorite pet food company may just be repackaging what other companies make for them.

P.S.: At Onesta Organics, we’re proud of the fact that we prepare all our pet food products from scratch in our own facility. It’s not always easy, but it’s always rewarding to know exactly what we are selling to our customers and their pets.

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